Photo by flickr user rpongsaj used under a Creative Commons license.
Hello SOTGC community,
Are you keeping your social accounts safe? Cyber security, or rather the lack thereof, is one of the main threats of our time.
Here are two simple tips that will help you keep your social media channels safer (note: there is always a risk):
1. Have Complicated, Difficult-To-Remember Passwords
Hate changing your passwords for your social media, online banking, Amazon.com and many more online accounts? So do I – but having someone invade your privacy, social channels, or even financials could be devastating and time-consuming.
The DO List:
A good solution to make changing passwords less of a pain is to sign up for a password storage tool. Personally, I use 1Password which carries a yearly fee. I’ve also heard good things about a free tool called LastPass.
• All you need to do, once you have such a tool, is to create one really hard password and remember it. Then you can let the tool auto-generate all your other really hard passwords, which you won’t need to remember.
• You can have 1Password installed on your Mac/ PC, iPhone, and iPad (as long as you are not using iPad 1, as the OS does not support it).
• You can “feed” 1Password every time you go to a site that requires you to create or use an existing login and it will store the details directly through the 1Password browser extension. Say you are going right now to change your Facebook password, when you are done doing that, 1Password can automatically record and encrypt the details for you.
The DON’T List:
If you are not ready to use a password tool, take these tips to heart:
• Don’t use the same password or similar password that you slightly modify for each account. Make each password unique, with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters – at least 9 characters, ideally more.
• Change your password occasionally (at least once a year). While having a really difficult password is the number one best way to protect your accounts, changing your password cannot hurt.
• Don’t use any dictionary words, your pet’s name or things people could easily Google about you. So-called “dictionary attacks” are commonplace.
• Personally, I discourage publishing your birthday on LinkedIn or Facebook as the birth date is a crucial detail to cracking your online identity, especially in the USA where birth dates and social security numbers get you access to many private “things.”
2. Tighten Your Security and Privacy Settings
Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media channels occasionally change their privacy options or add options without making users explicitly aware of it.
• For a safe 2015, visit at least your key social channels – in my case Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – and check your privacy and notification settings. (While you are there, disconnect access for apps you no longer use.)
• Something often over-looked or maybe deemed as too complicated is Two-Step-Verification. Most social platforms let you enable it. Here is how it works:
o In addition to your password, every time you sign in, you get a text message or app notification with an additional code (usually 4 numbers) that you need to enter.
o You specify your trusted device(s) to receive the code on ahead of time, e.g. your iPhone or iPad. I have this set up for many of my accounts.
Here more guidance for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook each:
• Twitter > Go to: Settings / Security and Privacy
o You will see the option for 2-step-verification
o Enable “Require personal information to reset my password”
o Don’t allow people to tag you in pictures (unless you have a good reason)
o Then go to: “Apps” and “Revoke access to apps you don’t use anymore.”
o This prevents you from giving access to your data to unnecessary parties.
• Facebook > Go to: (Your) Timeline > Next to “View Activity Log”, click on “…” > “Timeline Settings”
o Go through all the option and choose your sharing comfort level. In general, I don’t share anything beyond my “Friends.” Of course, brand pages are public as they function more like a website.
o Tagging: approve all tagging of you in pictures and posts.
o Also go to “Security” and “Privacy” to adjust your settings.
o Review the apps you have authorized.
• Again, it’s up to you if you want to share your information with third parties or be retargeted. Some people want it, I don’t.
• I suggest you don’t share your connection list with anybody, as it is like personal IP that you have built up over time. It’s under Profile /“Select who can see your connections.”
As I like to joke: when Jennifer Lawrence got her iCloud account hacked, maybe her password was “Hungergames1”? Do all you can to not let it happen to you.
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